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McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP

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Who Is At Fault in a High-Speed Chase? - On July 30, 2013, a high-speed police chase through Birmingham and suburban Homewood resulted in two collisions and three injuries. Police state that they spotted a man with outstanding arrest warrants driving in Birmingham’s south side shortly before 6:00 p.m. The chase ended when the suspect’s vehicle crashed into another car near the corner of... Read More »

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Explosive Plane Crash Kills Two - On Wednesday, August 14, 2013, a UPS cargo plane crashed near Birmingham. The crash killed all on board. Police state that the aircraft was approaching Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport on a flight from Lexington, Kentucky. The plane suddenly exploded in mid-air and fell from the sky. The tower reports that the crew made no distress calls. Witnesses... Read More »

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Wrongful Death and Criminal Acts - A former provost at the University of Alabama in Huntsville has asked a judge to throw out the wrongful death suit filed against him following Amy Bishop’s 2010 shooting rampage. Bishop, a professor at UAH, shot two people to death and injured three others following a faculty meeting. Bishop was angry that she was earlier... Read More »

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Alabama Executes Man Convicted of 2005 Murder: Alabama’s first execution since 2011 may have been tainted by several non-factual issues.

On July 26, 2013, 29-year-old Andrew Reid Lackey — the so-called “Halloween Killer” — died after receiving a lethal injection, which was his punishment for the 2005 assault and murder of 80-year-old Charles Newman. Mr. Lackey had dropped all of his appeals, and reportedly attempted suicide while on death row. Despite his seemingly obvious guilt, there were some rather serious questions surrounding the execution itself.

Punishment methods

The Eighth Amendment prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishment. There is no doubt that forced execution is both cruel and unusual, but whether execution violates the Constitution largely depends on the method. Methods such as death by hanging, which was once common in the United States, have been replaced by methods that are supposedly more humane. Most states once used Pancuronium bromide for use in lethal injections, but advocacy groups began to offer objections. They claimed that Pancuronium bromide’s hypnotic effect tended to mask the prisoner’s suffering and made onlookers believe that the process was less painful than it really was. In 2012, Texas became the first state to use Pentobarbital instead of Pancuronium bromide.

Executing mentally challenged prisoners

The Supreme Court has ruled that executing “mentally retarded” prisoners is indeed cruel and unusual punishment. It can be difficult to prove that a person is “mentally retarded,” especially since the state usually hires an expert who will almost certainly testify that the defendant had the sufficient mental capacity to understand his or her actions. The law in such situations is still developing.

At McPhillips Shinbaum, our criminal defense attorneys not only know the law. They help make the law, by aggressively pursuing appellate remedies wherever they are available in a criminal case. To see what a difference an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney can make, contact McPhillips Shinbaum to schedule your free consultation. Jail visits may be available.

#AlabamaCriminalDefenseAttorneys #Execution #MentallyChallengedPrisoners
While Alabama executes prisoners on death row, the state is prohibited from using "cruel and unusual" punishment or executing "mentally retarded" prisoners.

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Two Teenagers Die In Collision With Large Truck: A West Alabama football player died in an automobile accident over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Nineteen-year-old Anthony Robinson was traveling with his 12-year-old cousin on Highway 43 near Robinson’s hometown of Linden, Alabama when both were killed in a collision with an 18-wheeler.

In 2009, large trucks logged nearly three billion miles and caused nearly four thousand deaths. Even after 10 years of decline, large trucks still killed 73 Alabamans in 2009. Fully loaded trucks are simply so huge that they are very difficult, if not impossible, to stop suddenly. Some of the serious or mortal injuries that may result from collisions between a large truck and a passenger car or light tuck include:

Burns. If the large truck’s diesel fuel happens to catch fire, the fire can be much hotter and much more intense than a gasoline fire. Severe burns can mean a series of painful skin grafts. Many patients do not survive this procedure. Even if they do survive, there may be permanent disfiguring scars and other permanent injuries.

Crushed body parts. Because a large truck has such a hard time stopping, it frequently pushes the other vehicle like a snow plow until both vehicles come to rest against a bridge or embankment, or some other hard and unforgiving surface. By the time the first responders arrive and free the trapped occupants, their legs or arms may have been crushed by the car as it collapsed around them.

Severe trauma injuries. Even if the occupants are wearing seat belts and the air bags properly deploy, the sudden force of the impact can frequently cause head, neck and spinal injuries.

The attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum conduct their business according to one guiding principle: dignity. That commitment means that our attorneys always treat you with the respect you deserve, whether that means promptly returning your phone calls or being as prepared as we can possibly be before we go into court. Contact McPhillips Shinbaum to schedule your free consultation.

#AlabamaPersonalInjuryLawyers #TruckAccidents #SeriousInjuries
Truck accidents can be catastrophic. In fact, they caused nearly 4,000 deaths in 2009. They also cause burns, crushed body parts and trauma injuries.

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Two Teenagers Die In Collision With Large Truck - A West Alabama football player died in an automobile accident over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Nineteen-year-old Anthony Robinson was traveling with his 12-year-old cousin on Highway 43 near Robinson’s hometown of Linden, Alabama when both were killed in a collision with an 18-wheeler. In 2009, large trucks logged nearly three billion miles and caused... Read More »

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Keeping on Track with Drug Charge Probation: Alabama drug possession laws are strict, but the court has options for first offenses and minor charges, including probation. Under probation, you agree to follow specific terms for the length of the probation period instead of serving jail time. A judge can only offer probation to a defendant who is likely to make a sincere attempt to turn over a new leaf and stop using drugs, so judges are unhappy when someone violates the terms of the deal.

Drug-related probation may include the following:

- Regular appointments with a probation officer (PO)
- Attending a drug abuse program
- Community service
- No additional criminal offenses
- Random drug screening

Meeting your responsibilities under the probation agreement is your best chance to get the legal consequences of your arrest reduced. In some cases, we have been successful in getting the original charges dismissed when the probation is completed. If you violate your probation, your PO may hand your case back to a judge, who can reinstate your original prison sentence. However, under Alabama law, the court cannot revoke probation without a revocation hearing.

At this hearing, your PO presents evidence, for instance, a record of missed appointments or results from a failed drug test. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows that lab results are not always accurate and there might be mitigating circumstances to explain other parole infractions. Even if it is clear that you have violated your probation terms, we can attempt to persuade the judge to extend your probation instead of requiring jail time.

Everyone deserves a second chance, but there can be several bumps along the path to turning a life around. At McPhillips, Shinbaum, LLP, we do our best to help clients get through the stressful period following a drug-related arrest so they can move forward towards a better future.

#AlabamaCriminalDefenseLawyers #DrugCharges #Probation
Probation after a drug crime conviction may include counseling, community service, random drug tests & more. It's important to stick to parole conditions.

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Sexting and Alabama Obscenity Laws: When the first automobiles began rolling off the assembly line a century ago, no one was envisioning roadside fast food or drive-in movies. Likewise, the technology wizards who came up with hand-held devices that have photo and video capabilities probably did not anticipate the “sexting” craze among teenagers — the sharing of naked photos and sexually explicit videos via cell phones. What many teens do not realize is that sexting is a criminal act in most states, including Alabama.

One highly publicized case involved three Virginia teenagers who were arrested on felony charges of child pornography after they sent videos depicting some of their drunken sexual activities.

Even though the other participants had consented to be filmed and the videos had not been sent to anyone outside their circle, Fairfax County prosecutors argued that the material legally constituted child pornography.

The case was finally settled after two of the teens entered a plea deal and testified against the third boy, who was charged with a felony count of unlawful filming and sentenced to three days in a juvenile detention center.

In Alabama, anyone who produces, distributes or is in possession of sexually explicit material involving anyone under the age of 17 can be arrested on obscenity and child pornography charges:

- A teenager who takes a naked picture of herself and sends it to her boyfriend has violated three laws against producing, distributing or possessing child pornography.
- The boyfriend could be prosecuted for possessing child pornography. Penalties for this serious felony may include jail time and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Parents should make sure their teenagers understand that sharing sexually explicit images is a crime in Alabama. If your minor child is faced with sexting-related charges, make sure you contact us to discuss strategies to safeguard their rights.

#AlabamaCriminalDefenseLawyers #Sexting #ObscenityLaws
Sexting with anyone under the age of 17 is a criminal offense punishable under AL law. Considered child pornography, these sexts can result in jail time.

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Make Every Month Safety Month: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Although a simple statement, the thought applies well to accident prevention and legal remedies. Putting a focus on safety saves lives and lawsuits.

Sponsored by the National Safety Council, June was National Safety Month. The theme for 2013 was Safety Starts With Me. The goal was to urge individuals to take their own safety, and the safety of co-workers, family and friends into account throughout daily life. Each week offered a safety theme like understanding slip and fall accidents, emergency preparedness, ergonomics and employee wellness.

Our firm works hard to obtain compensation for clients injured in many ways. Consider these points about accidents in the United States:

- Fires are the third leading cause of deadly home injury in the country. The youngest and oldest family members are the most vulnerable. In 2010, a person was injured in a fire about every 30 minutes and a person died in a fire approximately every 169 minutes. Fire prevention, including installation and proper operation of smoke alarms, does not make headlines until tragedy occurs.
- From pills to pesticides, unintentional poisoning kills over 80 people per day. Poison can be eaten, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.
- About 200,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for a fall-related injury each year.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 800,000 people are treated for dog bites every year. Understanding leash laws and responsible pet ownership is essential for keeping your children and your dog safe.

Preventing painful accidents is better than putting life back together after the injury, disability or the death of a loved one. Every month should be National Safety Month. If you are injured through the negligence of someone else, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney in Alabama.

#AlabamaPersonalInjuryLawyers #Safety #Accidents
June was National Safety Month, but safety is important all year round! Accidents happen when you least expect them and it's important to be prepared.

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What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident: Under Alabama law, anyone who is injured in an accident that results from the reckless or negligent actions of someone else is entitled to compensation for medical expenses and other losses. In a car accident, the insurance company representing the at-fault party typically ends up paying these damages. But what happens if you are injured in a hit and run accident?

Hit and run accidents account for 20 percent of cases where a pedestrian is struck by a car, as well as many auto collisions. It is illegal to leave the scene after an accident in Alabama, but a driver might flee for a variety of reasons:

- Not licensed
- Not insured
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving a stolen vehicle
- Avoiding police because of an outstanding arrest warrant

According to an analysis of accident reports by the American Automobile Association (AAA), 18 percent of fatal car crashes involved drivers without a proper license, including licenses that had been revoked or suspended after previous traffic violations. The organization estimates that half of the drivers who disappear after a fatal hit and run are unlicensed.

If you are involved in a hit and run auto accident, your first priority is to get medical attention and contact the police. If possible, you should also do the following:

- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses
- Write down all the details of the accident that you remember
- Document the scene of accident with photos or video
- Contact an experienced auto accident lawyer

Any clues about the identity of the at-fault driver or vehicle can help law enforcement track them down and arrest them. An experienced attorney can offer help with investigating the hit and run accident and, if necessary, negotiating a fair compensation deal with your own insurance company.

#AlabamaAutoAccidentAttorneys #HitAndRun #Injury
Hit and run accidents produce extra heartache for victims. In addition to dealing with injuries, victims must also hope the other driver(s) can be found.
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